Only half of funds needed for free SUCs tuition available — House appropriations panel head

August 9, 2017 - 1:22 PM
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The Eastern Visayas State University (PNA photo)

MANILA, Philippines — The newly-signed law mandating free public tertiary education will need some P30 billion a year but, thus far, only P16 billion is available for its implementation next year, the chairman of the appropriations committee at the House of Representatives said.

“The estimate of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is around P30 billion, within the next 15 days, we will find out how much is really needed,” Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles said.

“Right now, we have P16 billion and we have source for this,” he said, adding that if the budget requirement goes beyond this, “we will consider sourcing from departments and agencies that are underspending or underperforming.”

Nograles said the P16 billion was consolidated from the scholarship funds of various agencies  such as CHED, state colleges and universities, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Science and Technology, and Environment and Natural Resources.

Republic Act 0931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act grants mandatory free education in all state and local universities and colleges, and government-run technical-vocational institutions.

According to Nograles, there are 114 SUCs; 16 LUCs; 122 tech-voc institutions under TESDA; and 40 technical-voc institutions run by local governments.

The Department of Budget and Management and the CHED aim to finish the implementing rules and regulations for the new law within 15 days.